Health Service is struggling to provide Decent Care for Locals and Migrants

As the aid workload increases and the situation in the country approaches the level of a humanitarian crisis, it is becoming more and more urgent to resolve the problem of administrative barriers to registering both NGOs and volunteers, say the aid agencies. The government’s failure to take action by creating a straightforward and timely volunteer visa application processes has become a particularly acute problem in the matter of medical assistance.

“People are arriving in poor condition and many, including children, have walked for weeks. They are hungry, exhausted, sick, and are also traumatized from their journeys,” said Katarina Zoric, spokesperson for the International Federation of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent.

“Our staff and volunteers are exhausted, and they are still struggling to cope with the increasing needs of the people in the reception centres.” Citing “especially alarming” conditions at the Vucjak migrant camp, Zoric said: “There are hundreds of cases of scabies and other diseases.”

More volunteer nurses and doctors could improve access to medical treatment, but IOM’s Van der Auweraert said: “the bureaucratic process of getting these people allowed to operate is very complicated.”

Ykema told TOL that Aid Brigade had been providing medical assistance to refugees on the streets of Sarajevo prior to being shut down, but this medical help is no longer available.

The increased strain on the health services is particularly problematic since outbound migration of doctors from Bosnia has left the country’s health service for the domestic population underserved, according to Van der Auweraert.

“[The health service] is already struggling to provide decent care for locals, so now, with the migrants with their specific medical needs, the services are really overwhelmed,” he warned, Relief Web reports.

Water arrived at the migrant camp Vucjak on Tuesday, according to the Avaz news portal reporter, the water arrived after the decision that the water supply and garbage collection at the reception center near Bihac would be financed by the Civil Protection of the Una-Sana Canton (USK).

The first tanker has already arrived at Camp Vucjak, and another will be delivered within the day.

Migrants have not been provided with water since Monday, after Mayor of City of Bihac Suhret Fazlic informed the competent public companies that the City of Bihac no longer had the funds for this purpose.

The Red Cross in Bihac will serve migrants with food – lunch packages, in quantities it can provide through donations, as has been the case so far, Avaz reports.


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